Blame lethargy for this. I've rarely bothered to consult the dictionary even though I come across too many words that stump me.
Dad bought me my first dictionary when I was 9, a Bhargava with lots of colored pictures to hold the young mind captive. I brandished it before my friends as proof of my reaching a certain degree of intellectual maturity. After all, only the intellectuals consulted dictionaries. But I reached for my dictionary only to flip through the pages for the lovely pictures and not for meanings.
A few years later, we students were laden with the Orient Longman Dictionary. It was thick, dull, boring and almost without pictured. We were asked to troop all our brainwaves and consult it whenever in need, a directive we unanimously decided to ignore. I had outgrown my first dictionary and consulting the second provided me with no distinct advantage over my peers. So the appendage of a dictionary languished somewhere in my bookshelf, seldom to be consulted.
The third dictionary came my way after a long hiatus, when I was in Pune. It was a Cambridge Dictionary and came in a stunningly attractive red-colored paperback. Though I has seriously looking forward to consult it this time-my stunted vocabulary being a real cause of concern by now- I never got to use it. Still factory-fresh in my cupboard, it was stolen by someone whom I'll not identify here. Anyway, leveling charges without a shred evidence is not justified. Maybe my suspicions are misplaced anyway.
Cut to the present. The Net made the dictionary redundant, well...almost. Still, the good-old dictionary couldn't be done away with entirely. So I made the valiant attempt today at setting things right by buying the ubiquitous and universally trusted Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary on my way back home after work.
Mission accomplished, it was supposed to serve as a companion to A Suitable Boy. Seth's great book is endowed with so many words that throw me into a tailspin that I need some semblance of sanity while sifting through the pages. Yet, my new dictionary lies utilized. Old habits die hard.
Fret not, I'll use the dictionary soon.
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